Friday, January 30, 2009
Review: Murder With Puffins
Murder With Puffins: a Meg Langslow mystery by Donna Andrews
Reasons for reading: I loved her first book, Murder With Peacocks; Seconds Challenge
Description: "A romantic getaway was what Meg Langslow had in mind when she and her boyfriend planned a trip to the tiny island of Monhegan off the coast of Maine. They would spend their days hiking the trails and their evenings by the fire. But in this remote place, birds of a feather flock together and Meg quickly learns that this vacation isn't going to go as planned. Although the puffins have already flown south for the winter, the island still harbors a flock of birdwatchers-and Meg's family...Discovering her parents, her brother, her aunt, and a nosey neighbor on the island is Meg's first surprise. Her second one comes when a body is found and her father is accused of murder. Now instead of quiet walks by the water, Meg finds herself scouring the island for clues. In the process, she uncovers more than she bargained for. "
First line: "I see land ahead," Michael said."
My thoughts: Another winner from Andrews! I didn't love this one quite as much as the first book mainly because I really, really liked the crazy three-weddings scenario of Peacocks and the rainy birdwatching of this one didn't quite grab me as much. But that's a minor quibble - I'm definitely into this series.
Meg's crazy-wonderful family is back, particularly her glamorous, enchanting mother (in fact, much is revealed about her, way too much for Meg). Michael is still the sweetest boyfriend ever, being a totally good sport about the rain, the lack of privacy, and the murder investigation. While not quite as involved as he was in the previous book, her mystery-loving dad still manages to end up as a suspect, rather to his glee. And various puffin-crazed birders and residents (whose fierce love of their rather dismal island is impressive) are hilarious, particularly Rhapsody, the odd, shy, children's book author who writes drecky children's books about the Happy Puffin Family.
The chapter headings are all titles (mostly books, some songs) with "puffin" subsituted in them, such as "Zen and the Art of Puffin Maintenance" which is a fun added touch.
This is a cozy mystery - you're rather glad the victim was killed. In this case, the victim is Victor Resnick, a conceited painter who is electrocuting the birds and chasing "trespassers" off with a shotgun, so no great loss there. Meg once again has to get involved because two of her relatives are suspects and there's a lot of slogging around in a hurricane. Not a nail-biting mystery, but the Langslow family's antics make for a great read.
Verdict: I'm flying (ha!) through these, it seems, and am looking forward to Owls Well That Ends Well.